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A growing thirst for craft beer more than just a trend

Aug 28th, 2014 | By | Category: Latest News, News



GROWING MARKET: Craft beer lover are spoilt for choice when choosing their drop. IMAGE: Tess Nichol

GROWING MARKET: Craft beer lovers in Wellington have plenty to choose from. IMAGE: Tess Nichol

THE popularity of craft beer continues to grow in the capital and those selling it say it’s a trend that’s unlikely to change.

Bars and retail outlets who specialise in providing artisan beer say the industry is experiencing a huge cultural shift as consumer knowledge and interest in craft beer expands.

Representatives from three of Wellington’s leading craft beer providers are confident that this is more than just a trend.

“I think it’s exactly the same as interest in wine, cheese, coffee, they’re all things where it’s very hard to go back once you’re appreciating flavour,” says Kieran Haslett- Moore, Regional Wines and Spirits’ beer expert.

David Wood, general manager at inner city bar Hashigo Zake, agrees and adds that young consumers who have grown up with craft beer as the norm will cement this shift.

Malthouse, Wellington’s oldest craft beer bar, opened in 1993 and general manager Colin Mallon says in the last 21 years the beer industry in New Zealand has grown from a couple of breweries to around 70.

He partly credits Wellingtonians for the popularity of craft beer, saying we are a city of ‘foodies’ who are open to trying new trends and who like to support local industry.

Hashigo Zake’s David Wood says competition has risen as more and more craft beer bars have opened in the central city over the last five years.

“It just means we’ve got to stay on our game, we’ve got to stay at the edge of what’s new and exciting,” he says.

What’s new and exciting is usually dictated by the United States craft beer scene, which is currently focused on producing barrel- aged sour beers.

Sour beers are difficult to produce and Mr Wood says he doesn’t think many New Zealand breweries would be ready to start making them yet.

As for consumers, small counter- trends in craft beer might come and go, but the retailers all agree strong hoppy pale ales are continuous customer favourites, something which is unlikely to change.

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